Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bathing Suit Rebuild, Part 1

     Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, I ordered a swimsuit from a catalog. It had a really cute pattern, and appeared to be a simple, classic one-piece shape. But when it arrived, I thought some grave error had transpired: it was not a one-piece at all, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. It actually just had a front piece to it, and huge gaping cutouts, if you can even call them that, on the sides. So the front was a one-piece, and the back was a bikini. It was the mullet of swimsuits. It turns out that the model wearing it in the catalog was just so skinny that you couldn't see the cutouts. It didn't do me any favors with the surprise cutouts, and there wasn't any support in the bust anyway, and so I never wore it. 

     Recently though, I dug it out while rummaging through my stored clothes and thought "Why not try to save this?" I was never going to wear it, so I had nothing to lose. And I did still really like the pattern of the fabric...

I mean come on, it's hearts, I couldn't just throw it out. You knew it was gonna be hearts or polka dots.
     The way it's put together, I figured it would be pretty straightforward to turn it into an honest-to-God bikini, instead of just a from-one-angle imposter. It would need a lot of work to make the top fit right, but I knew I could do it. So I set to work! 

     First I cut the top part of the swimsuit away from the offending midriff piece. They were two separate pieces that had been attached to each other in some mad scientist's lab to begin with, so separating them was no big feat. Next I ripped the underwire out of an old bra. You can buy new underwire if you're not into butchering your old clothing, but if you know me at all, you'll know hacking old clothing apart to repurpose it is something of a hobby of mine. Plus I'm cheap, so why not use what you have? 

I wonder who invented underwire? "Yes, it shall be a great invention! It shall support women's chests and periodically break free and STAB THEM in the underarms and/or sternums! Brilliant!" You just know it was a dude.
     Then the wires went into the casing from some boning that had had the plastic bits removed. The ends got folded over for comfort and protection against the afore-mentioned stabbing.

Looks like the sad eyes of a cartoon ghost.
     Then I stuck 'em in the pocket that was already there (it originally had those obnoxious little inserts that never sit flat in there, but you better believe I tossed those suckers im-mee-jut-ly) and tacked them in place at the outside edge and the bottom of the cup (to keep the lining from rolling outwards and showing-- it's flesh colored, that would look rather unseemly). 

     Then my mom very sweetly offered to sew the pocket shut by hand, probably because she knows that when I have to hand-sew things, I become a whiny little gremlin for the duration of the project. 

      Next, the whole thing just needed a general tightening. All that entailed was moving the halter strap down a few inches and re-attaching it, then cutting off the extra, and for the back, moving both the plastic hook and the loop it goes through over an inch on each side in the back.

     And suddenly I had a finished, wearable top! Obviously I'm not going to model it for you because the internet is forever, and the flash from my camera would probably rebound off my pale belly-flesh and blind people like a laser. So you'll have to settle for this picture of it nicely arranged on my work surface. 

     Ta-daaaa! I'm so glad I decided to put some effort into this thing and save it. Now that it's just a regular bikini top, I really do love it. It's very 1950s pin-up esque, which I dig. 

     And iff you're curious how I'm going to turn that weird swimsuit overalls thing up there into a bikini bottom, be sure to check back for part 2! 

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